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‘Taliban must halt civilian killings’

AT News

KABUL: National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib said that Taliban are defeated in the battlefields and are targeting civilians. “The Taliban has to stop civilian killings.”

He cited the remarks in a ceremony introducing the deputy minister of defense and chief of army staff. Mohib said the Taliban were the slave of the foreign intelligence. “The Taliban should abandon targeting Afghans,” he added.

Mohib said the militants have been enjoying safe havens in Pakistan. “They have provided educational facilities for their own children,” he added. “Don’t live that shameful life anymore.”

He called on the insurgents to halt destroying the country’s constructions and roads. “Come in and live with dignity, bring your children as well; educate them here to prove your Afghan nationalism and history.

Mohib’s harsh statement on the Taliban comes at time of a historic peace effort launched by the US President Donald Trump’s administration in September 2018 to end the longest American war in Afghanistan. After rounds of negotiations, the US special envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalizad signed a preliminary peace deal with Mulalh Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban’s co-founder and a man leading Taliban’s Qatar Based Political Office in February in Doha.  The agreement included a significant reduction in violence and the start of the intra-Afghan negotiations, in which the Afghans would be discussing a ceasefire that could lead into a sustainable peace in Afghanistan. Based on the US-Taliban deal the Afghan government should release 5,000 Taliban prisoners in return for the 1,000 Afghan security forces.

Ghanis’ security aide called on the Taliban to reduce violence and engaged in intra-Afghan negotiations.  

The acting minister of defense, Asadullah Khalid, who attended the ceremony, said that their information shows that the released Taliban prisoners have rejoined the insurgency.  The government has freed over 4,000 Taliban inmates by far.

“If the foreign troops extracted from Afghanistan, we would be ready to defend our soil, we wouldn’t let it for the Taliban,” Khalid added. “Beside, defending our country, we are also prepared for the difficult days.”

Khalid said the government has shown flexibility but the militants have been proved reluctant towards peace.

But there are still concerns that such remarks by the top Afghan officials may undermine the peace process.

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